Many readers of
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY have asked me if Gus Wilson is a real, live man and
if the Model Garage actually exists. The answer to both questions is
yes. The Model Garage is located in a town not far from New York City.
It is owned and operated by two men whom I have named in my stories Gus
Wilson and Joe Clark. These are not their real names, nor is their
place of business called the Model Garage. But don't ask me to tell
you what their real names are or where the garage actually is located.
I can't do it because years ago when this series of stories first started, I
promised never to reveal these facts.
I can assure you, however, that I have
done my best to describe "Gus Wilson" as he really is. Even the
drawings of Gus which illustrate each story look like the real man because
they are made by an artist who knew him.
The incidents in the stories are taken
directly from the veteran auto mechanic's own experience.
While I cannot reveal "Gus's" real name
or where he lives and works, I can without any breach of confidence tell you
a little about his past history.
"Gus Wilson" grew up with the automobile
industry. When Duryea was experimenting with his first gasoline buggy
"Gus Wilson," then a young man, was investigating and incidentally
overhauling one of those funny little steam vehicles that had to stop at
every horse trough while the driver sucked into the tank, with a length of
hose and a hand pump, gallons and gallons of water.
When the first electric hansom cab hummed
and groaned its snail-like course over the streets of New York, Gus was
adding water to the batteries sandpapering the commutators of the motor, and
otherwise mothering these clumsy vehicles.
His wrist still is a little stiff because
years ago the huge one-cylinder engine of a Northern runabout (a competitor
of original Oldsmobile) kicked back and broke several wrist bones.
He has worked on almost every kind of an
automobile ever made, and yet with all his experience he remarked, a while
ago: "I'm learning some new queer kink about a gasoline motor every
Like many exceptionally generous and
kind-hearted men, "Gus Wilson" hides his friendliness under a gruff and
growling manner. His bark, however, is much worse than his bite, and
he is always willing to give all the information at his command to any
motorist who is honestly striving to get better results from his car.
I feel safe in saying that motorists in
general would be a lot better off if all auto mechanics had as much skill
and knowledge of automobiles and took as much genuine pride in fine
workmanship as does "Gus Wilson."